[Milton-L] Abdiel

duran0 duran0 at purdue.edu
Thu Jun 26 11:24:04 EDT 2008

Dear scholars, 

Milton¹s characterization of Abdiel is important in tems of distinguishing
some forms of Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic
prayer, the Confietor (Latin: ³I confess:) still used today, is as follows:
³I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have
sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have
done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me
to the Lord our God.²

In serious contexts, it has a lot to do with sins of commission and
omission.  It¹s used for comic effect in the (bad) movie The Messenger
(1999), where a young Joan of Arc is portrayed as rushing daily and happily
to confession for sins of thought and of omission. I believe that, had
Abdiel NOT acted upon his thought, the thought would have been an
(instrumental?) cause of his agency in a sin of omission.


Angelica Duran
Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive / Heavilon Hall
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
<duran0 at purdue.edu>

On 6/26/08 10:40 AM, "Jameela Lares" <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu> wrote:

> I'm with Carol that thoughts without any defining action can't define sin.  I
> can't think of any cases in which the theology of the period defined sin in
> terms of thoughts rather than actions, and certainly no biblical references.
> Indeed, the parable of the two sons (Matt. 21.28-31) seems to say the
> opposite.
> I have always assumed that the moment of sin is reflected in the trembling of
> the earth, and both times the human has EATEN (9.780-784, 994-1004), though I
> do note that there is a biblical continuum--and not only in the epistle of
> James--in which thoughts can lead one to sin, and Adam's eating is thus called
> the "compleating" of the sin at 9.1003.  The treason connection, though
> suggestive, is problematic because it assumes that secular politics, and
> relatively recent ones at that, would immediately copy on to what were
> considered timeless theological truths.  And no one seems to have mentioned
> that the unfallen Son engages in interior monologue in PR without subsequently
> falling.
> I've been off-line for a few days and have read this long thread at a sitting.
> This topic is great for engaging various positions in a debate.  In fact, I am
> wondering about the propriety of printing off the posts for use in a seminar,
> where a good intellectual time would surely be had by all, so perhaps if I
> decide to use the question I would be contacting individual post-ers and
> asking
> if I could reprint their posts, which I would also forward.  But that's
> future.
> I hope to be back online soon.  I'm on the road, so if anyone responds to this
> late addition, it make take me a day or so to get back to it.
> Cheers,
> Jameela
> Quoting Carol Barton <cbartonphd1 at verizon.net>:
>> pace Bill Hunter's blessed ghost, if we factor in Milton's definition
>> of "sin" in DDC, the thought alone is not enough. Even sin itself "is
>> not properly an act," if I recall his argument correctly. (It's the
>> negation.)

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